BofA Sues Labor Department Over Ruling on Black Job Applicants

  • Bank challenges decision that found discriminatory hiring
  • Agency ordered BofA to pay about $1 million to applicants

Bank of America Corp. is challenging a U.S. Labor Department decision that the lender discriminated against black applicants more than 20 years ago and must make about $1 million in total payments to those individuals.

The bank said in a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Washington that the agency’s administrative proceedings were unlawful and that findings of intentional discrimination by the bank were erroneous.

Bank of America in 2013 was ordered to pay $2.2 million to black job applicants whom the Labor Department said were unfairly rejected for teller and clerical positions. An administrative judge told the bank to pay $964,000 to more than 1,000 applicants from 1993 and $1.22 million to 113 people who were rejected in 2002 to 2005. The lender was also ordered to make job offers to 10 people.

On April 21, the agency’s administrative review board canceled the $1.22 million award, citing insufficient evidence.

The Labor Department case stems from a routine review of hiring practices at an office in Bank of America’s hometown of Charlotte, N.C., according to earlier statements by the agency. After negotiations between the bank and government officials broke down, the government filed an administrative complaint in 1997, asserting that the federally insured bank was subject to laws covering U.S. contractors, the agency said. The firm challenged that authority, according to the statement.

Lawrence Grayson, a spokesman for Bank of America, declined to comment. Michael Trupo, a Labor Department spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

The case is Bank of America N.A. v. U.S. Department of Labor, 16-cv-968, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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